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Horse Racing

Amazing rise of trailblazing Bryony Frost, from fun-loving ‘hooligan’ to golden girl of horse racing

BRYONY FROST’S meteoric rise has seen her become horse racing’s golden girl – after a childhood growing up as a ‘feral’ kid.

Her epic rise culminated in last year’s astonishing win at the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Frodon.

Bryony Frost is the golden girl of horse racing
As a ‘feral’ kid growing up in Devon Frost was obsessed by horses

She became the first female jockey to achieve the feat, and all at the tender age of just 25.

It was also Frost’s 175th career win, which meant she became the most successful female National Hunt jockey of all time.

But the Devon-born star hasn’t had it easy in the male-dominated sport, including a bullying row over a dead horse.

EARLY YEARS

It seems like school came second to Frost growing up – with horses taking pride of place in her heart.

Well, it was in her blood.

Bryony is the daughter of retired jockey Jimmy Frost, who won the 1989 Grand National on Little Polveir.

And not only did she carry around a pony in her hand as a youngster, she used to pretend to be one – attaching stolen horse shoes to her trainers.

“I was completely feral,” she told The Times.

However, her father would tell her that if she wanted to try her hand at the jump jockey game, she would need to know how to fall properly.

So Frost and her brother Hadden (now a showjumper in the US) would ‘launch ourselves like absolute hooligans’ off hay bales in preparation for their future endeavours.

Bryony rides Frodon to victory at the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park

Frost’s dad Jimmy, right, is a former jockey who won the Grand National in 1989

Frost picks herself up after a fall on Ostuni in the Bud Light Female Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at Southwell Racecourse last year

She added: “But we seemed quite robust. Mum would have a bell outside the kitchen and ring it at half past eight and we’d all come back. I was so lucky to have the freedom I had.”

HISTORY MAKER

Last year’s King George VI Chase wasn’t the first time Frost rewrote the record books.

Again with Frodon, she made history at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019 – riding to glory in the Grade One Ryanair Chase.

Frost became the first woman to win a Grade One – the top tier of horse races – contest over obstacles at the Festival – showing her appreciation to her horse.

“He’s not racing for me, I’m racing for him,” she said.

“I’m his partner and what he says goes. I put in a suggestion every now and then.

“He has the last say. It’s not a boss and an employee, we are in this together. If he decides one thing and I decide another then that’s when it falls apart.”

Frost celebrates becoming the first woman to win a Grade One race over obstacles at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019

Victory was sweet for Frost in the Grade One Ryanair Chase on Frodon

BLACK CORTON

Before Frodon, there was her ‘best mate’ Black Corton – a horse who helped Frost climb the career ladder.

The pair raced together 25 times, recording eight wins and being runner-up on more than one occasion.

Their most famous win came in the 2017 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton.

“I owe a lot to that horse – I love him,” Frost once revealed.

Which is why when it was announced Black Corton was retiring recently, the horse was going to live with Frost.

Trainer Paul Nicholls said on Twitter: “After discussions with the owners we have decided to retire Black Corton. He will have a lovely home with Bryony.”

Black Corton, Frost’s ‘best mate’, is now living with the jockey since retiring

BULLYING STORM

However, it has not all been plain sailing, and a bust-up with another jockey has led to a bullying row in the sport.

She has revealed that going about her daily business is a ‘struggle’ in the weighing room, with the treatment she has received from some of her fellow jockeys unacceptable in the 21st century.

And an altercation last September with Robbie Dunne is currently under investigation by the BHA.

He believed Frost was partly to blame after his horse Cillian’s Well fell and was fatally injured, but it is not yet totally clear how heated the row became between the pair.

Frost has admitted going about her business in the weighing room has been a ‘struggle’

The BHA are currently investigating how Frost is being treated by her fellow jockeys

Frost, for her part, has remained silent on the issue.

She said: “At the minute it’s really hard for me to talk about.

“I’m not allowed to say much because it’s in the hands of the BHA. They have taken control of it and for the moment I can’t say any more.”

But that is just a small blip on Bryony’s stratospheric rise – which could reach new levels at Cheltenham.

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